You can make gains, lose weight and achieve fitness goals throughout the holiday season and still enjoy the holidays. Two weeks ago we shared some tips on eating during this very busy social time of the year. Enjoy your Christmas and New Year's Day meals! Just monitor your nutrition plan carefully in this upcoming week until Christmas, as well as the week until the start of the New Year. And last week we gave you maintenance tips for quickie workouts. Plan your workouts into your daily schedule during this busy time. Working out is a great stress reliever. And a trip to the gym gets you away from the onslaught of family members that will be overflowing your guest bedrooms in the coming days!
This week we share two responses from readers. One is a success story and the other is a success story in the making. We LOVE to hear from all of you who followed our advice and got the results you were looking for and wish we could share all the wonderful e-mails we receive from you out there in cyberland. Your success makes all this effort to share our knowledge with you worthwhile!
In her response to the first letter, Diane emphasizes what Barbara has discovered to be true in her own quest for a legendary physique: the importance of the fitness lifestyle as opposed to the fad dieting practiced by most Americans!
In his response, Richard explains to Tarun that it is possible to gain muscle without gaining a fat gut!
I am enjoying your newsletter. As far as a fantastic physique in your 40's and 50's, the only thing that I have found that works like you had said is-5 meals a day, low fat, no carbs in the evening. I have been eating "clean now for a few months and have finally broken through that "last 10 pounds barrier" that I haven't broken through for a few years. I feel great, and it is fairly easy to maintain this type of eating. Working out until you pass out is not the answer! Thanks for your information.
Palm Desert, CA
Thanks for taking the time to write in with your kind words. For those readers, interested in joining our newsletter list, click here. Richard and I send out a very brief weekly newsletter that will keep you informed of new articles we've written for the web and/or magazines and will also let you know details about future appearances or speaking engagements.
Now, back to that last ten pound barrier. Why is it so difficult? In order to achieve a legendary physique, all stubborn fat pockets need to be removed. The difficulty is that you already look great in street clothes and look better than 95% of the population, so it is so easy to sit back and coast, rather than put the time and effort into that last will-testing effort.
But, once you've reached the promised land, Babyboomers, it's hard to go back. Richard did achieve elite status in the 1970s and 1980s with his numerous physique titles, including Mr. America, MW and Mr. USA. Because he's been known for his legendary symmetrical physique, he feels angst when not in top condition. And it's that very angst that keeps his weight in check year-round with sound nutrition day after day.
Barbara, sound nutrition is critical in your 40's and 50's because of the natural metabolic slowdown caused by the aging process. We need fewer calories each day to maintain our weight, so chose your calories wisely!
Eating five meals on average for women, six for men allows a constant stream of protein for recovery, repair and muscle growth throughout the day. Couple good sources of protein with complex carbohydrates and some essential fats and you've created a nutrition plan that keeps you lean while reversing the aging process. In a recent email directed at Richard, he further discusses sound nutrition over a long period of time.
I have gained muscle and fat in the last year, and have a bit of a gut which I want to get rid of along with other body fat, but not at the expense of muscle, so should I:
- Bulk up more then cut down
- Cut down now
- Gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
What should I do? What kind of program and diet should I follow?
Yes, you do need more calories to gain muscle, and in your case you need to be ingesting AT LEAST 200 grams of protein per day. You also might want to drop the carbohydrates down a little (maybe 20 or 30 grams per day) or drop the fats 10 -20 grams per day (given your calorie intake I assume you are getting about 80 grams of fat per day, though you don't say). Make sure you are getting those carbs from fresh fruits and vegetables, not processed foods.
I think you should gain muscle and lose fat at the same time (which means your body weight will stay the same, but you will begin to see more muscle as you lose the fat). Changing your diet as I suggested above should push you in that direction.
Many bodybuilders "bulk up" too far because the stringent diet is too difficult for them to follow year round. Believe me, if a bodybuilder does bulk up too far, when he comes down he loses a lot of muscle along with the fat. It doesn't have to be that way though.
Richard: We are hoping to hear from many of you about how you continued to make gains through the holidays! In fact, I'm training hard myself right now and don't intend to let the holidays interfere with my own personal goals! I challenge you to do the same! Are you really dedicated enough to creating your own legendary physique? I'll let you know how it went after the holidays are over. Can I really practice what I preach? I'm sure Diane will let you know how I did, but we're counting on you to let us know how you did.
Diane: Uh-oh! Sounds like I'm not going to be able to have dessert on Christmas day. But, don't worry readers, I'll check up on Baldwin and snitch on him if he doesn't work out or if he even sniffs any holiday treats!
On a serious note...a lifestyle fitness decision is just that, a lifestyle decision. No one is suggesting going through life without a cookie or the thing that makes Baldwin cave, vanilla ice cream with granola. And I've got the proof that even Richard on very rare occasions will enjoy his favorite treat. Here's my favorite Mr. America with Laura Combes, the first Ms. America eating ice cream after an exhibition in Belgium back in 1981. Just remember, a lifestyle decision means healthy eating and exercise with the occasional treat.
Christmas and New Year holidays are times to enjoy a little indulgence. And then we get right back on track so that we remain strong mentally and physically.
It's simply a choice. A little instant gratification now or a legendary physique forever? Make the choice to be fit and healthy. We'll be here for you today to help maintain your legendary physique through the holidays and in the coming weeks where we urge you to make Lifestyle Resolutions instead of New Year's Resolutions.
We're looking to hear from you! Somebody out there take up his challenge and share with our readers how you were able to continue the fitness lifestyle even through the holidays!
Richard and Diane
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.
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Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.
The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.